Farmhood Fields case inspires new law | Wallkill Valley Times

Farmhood Fields case inspires new law

By Connor Linskey
Posted 12/31/19

The controversy surrounding Farmhood Fields, a proposed farm-to-table living community on Crans Mill Road in Crawford, inspired the Crawford Town Board to propose an introductory local law regarding …

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Farmhood Fields case inspires new law

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The controversy surrounding Farmhood Fields, a proposed farm-to-table living community on Crans Mill Road in Crawford, inspired the Crawford Town Board to propose an introductory local law regarding farm-related zoning amendments at Thursday night’s town board meeting.

Section 1 Chapter 137, titled “Zoning” of the Code of the Town of Crawford is amended in a number of ways. Subsection G, titled “SC-O (Scenic Corridor Overlay) District,” of §137-11, titled “General zoning district regulations,” is amended by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:

The Planning Board may waive the public hearing for buildings, structures and uses intended for a farm operation on land located in a County agricultural district or land used in agricultural production which is subject to an agricultural assessment.

Subsection A, titled “Agricultural operations,” of §137-13, titled “Supplemental regulations for permitted uses,” is amended by amending paragraph three and adding new paragraphs four and five to read as follows:

Any building or structure used to house or stable animals shall be at least 50 feet from any property line.

Barnyards, silos, barn gutters, animal pens and any building or structure used to house or stable animals shall be at least 100 feet from water wells.

Manure piles shall be at least 200 feet from water wells.

Subsection D, titled “Public hearing,” of §137-30, titled “Site plan approval,” is amended by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:

The Planning Board may waive the public hearing for buildings, structures and uses intended for a farm operation on land located in a County agricultural district or land used in agricultural production which is subject to an agricultural assessment.

Subsection B, concerning waiver of site plan content requirements of §137-29, titled “Content of site plans,” is amended by adding a new sentence to read as follows: When a site plan application involves a building, structure or use intended for a farm operation on land located in a County agricultural district or land used in agricultural production which is subject to an agricultural assessment, the Planning Board shall waive all site plan content deemed not necessary by the Planning Board for proper review of the application.

Subsection E of §137-30, titled “Site plan approval,” is amended by changing, in paragraph one, “45 days” to “62 days”, by adding a new paragraph to read as follows and by changing the numbering of current paragraphs two and three to three and four:

Notwithstanding the 62-day time period stated in paragraph one above, the time period shall be 45 days when a site plan application includes a building, structure or use intended for a farm operation on land located in a County agricultural district or land used in agricultural production which is subject to an agricultural exemption.

Section 2 regarding separability also received an amendment. If any part of provision of this local law or the application thereof to any person or circumstance be adjusted invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgement shall be confined in its operation to the part or provision or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgement shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this local law or the application thereof to other persons or circumstances.

The Town Board also made changes to Section 3 regarding supersession. The Town Board hereby declares its legislative intent to supersede any provision of any local law, rule, or regulation or provision of the law inconsistent with this local law. The provisions of law intended to be superseded include all the Town Law, including Article 16 and any other provision of law that the town may supersede pursuant to the Municipal Home Rule Law and the Constitution of the State of New York. The courts are requested to take notice of this legislative intent and apply it in the event the Town has failed to specify any provision of law that may require supersession. The Town Board hereby declares that it would have enacted this local law and superseded such inconsistent provision had it been apparent.

Section 4, the final amendment made by the Town Board, noted that this local law shall pass immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.

A public hearing regarding the farm-related zoning amendments will take place at Crawford Town Hall on Jan. 16 at 7:20 p.m.

At Thursday night’s town board meeting Town Supervisor Charles Carnes provided an update on the Farmhood Fields case.

“The state [Agricultural and Markets Department] did not rule on the Farmhood Fields case,” he said.

In November the department received a 260-page request from Farmhood Fields, asking them to review and determine whether the town’s code, which requires planning board approval for structural changes and additions near town roads overlooking the Shawangunk Mountains, is lawful, and if a feed bunk on its property must be moved almost 100 feet from the property line.

The state Agricultural and Markets Department and the Crawford Town Board went through existing case law, which disagrees with some of the town’s existing zoning. Carnes sent the department a follow up letter last Tuesday.

Farmhood Fields had several concerns. They were upset about how long the case has taken for approval, setback distances for the housing of animals and the scenic corridor regulations.

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